Even 9 years into his NBA profession, Anthony Davis still is sometimes struck by how a childhood dream has played out.
The Lakers’ big man was scrolling through Instagram on the bus to the arena prior to a playoff video game last season when he came throughout a post about the number of postseason records his teammate LeBron James has. He sent a message to James making use of nostalgia and keeping in mind another bus journey he drew from Chicago to Akron as a teenager to participate in James’ camp.
“‘ Seeing you for the very first time, you’re such a motivation to all of us, you might not know,'” Davis recalled composing on Sunday, sharing the message with press reporters.” ‘And it’s crazy how whatever comes complete circle to now we’re on the same team battling for a championship.’ “
Davis, James and the Lakers won that championship. Now sporting the league’s finest record early in the season, they’ve started to think about the next part of the dream: a dynasty.
It’s a natural consideration heading into a matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. While Klay Thompson’s season-ending injury has taken some of the air out of the match, it still presents like a baton hand-off: The last NBA dynasty taking on the group that could be the next one.
” I do not desire to state we took over: The Warriors won 3 out of 4 or something like that, so we have not achieved that yet,” Davis said. “However I think whoever the safeguarding champions are type of hold that standard that each team desires to become.”
For all the talk of the bullseye on their backs, the Lakers (11-3) have actually looked strong in their start, regardless of the downside of a much shorter offseason than any other group other than Miami. They’re averaging an NBA-best 11-point margin in their video games, and most tellingly they have not needed to extend their stars to rack up wins: No one on the Lakers is balancing more than 32 minutes per game.
It’s not simply this year that the Lakers anticipate to be in contention: Almost every meaningful player is under a multi-year agreement. Davis has the longest deal through 2025, however James and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are up through 2023, and Kyle Kuzma is through 2024. Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol can stick with the Lakers through next season. The biggest enigma left is Dennis Schröder, who has actually revealed interest in signing an extension with the Lakers before he strikes free agency this summer season.
With a lot of crucial pieces locked up, it’s natural for the Lakers’ aspirations to have a longer runway. Kuzma stated the team is concentrated on the objective of winning its 2nd championship together, which would develop the foundation for an unique age. This group of 9 returners now understands how hard it is to win one title– Kuzma cited the Spurs’ run under Gregg Popovich as motivation.
” We’re attempting to get to that plateau and peak to continue to win champions– a difficult, lofty goal, however I believe that’s what all of us put out to do,” he said. “Seeing guys sign contracts, be a part of a champion window and just attempt to make it happen. We have such a little time in the NBA and even smaller of a window, when we talk about dynasties, to make it really occur.”
The Warriors find themselves scrapping at 6-6 after an injury afflicted 2019-20 season that left them with the worst record in the NBA. Thompson’s newest obstacle seemingly has cut off their opportunity to complete for another champion this year, but Steph Curry is still one of the league’s finest scorers, ranking 3rd with 28.4 ppg as of Sunday afternoon.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr stated going to the finals for five straight years was hard to handle by the end, when long seasons and installing expectations started to soak into his group. He sees the Lakers in a picturesque part of their teenage years of a dynasty when they’re still atop the world: For the Warriors, that equated to a record-setting 73 wins in their second season after they won their very first of three titles.
” They have the confidence that includes winning a champion, and they don’t have the tiredness that includes winning multiple championships,” Kerr said. “This is truly a sweet spot.”
The Lakers seem to recognize it, too. James went to four straight finals with both the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which may help temper the group’s sense of invincibility. Kuzma and Davis both seemed to soft-pedal that the Lakers already are in the midst of a dynasty, however acknowledged they have the possibility to produce one.
Davis believes a lot about the day he sent out James that message, and just how much anxiety he felt entering into the locker space fretted that his colleague would tease him for being “soft.” But James said absolutely nothing till after the video game itself, when he used a comparable belief, Davis said.
” It’s a pretty cool minute to be able to play along with one of the guys that you appreciated,” Davis said. “Especially now for the next number of years.”